Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Say Cheese! LimoStudio Photography Table Top Kit

LimoStudio Photography Table Top Photo Light Tent Kit

Photo Tent with White Backdrop
In an effort to make this blog better, I took advantage of a sale that popped up on Amazon and sprung for the LimoStudio Photography Table Top Photo Light Tent Kit ($45.99). The aim of course if for better pictures since everything I have taken to date has been with my cell phone (Motorola Droid Razer HD) with figures light by the chandelier over our kitchen table. Sure the pictures were ok, but hopefully with the addition of the light kit I can get them better. I also swapped out my phone for our Nikon Coolpix L810 ($209.99). This is an old model, but one you can still get with ease. The camera is a 16.1 MP with a bunch of settings. This is not a digital SLR, though I do have a regular Nikon SLR that I may try out with this set up and process the photos from there. Maybe when I paint something that I feel worthy enough.

Kit Contents

The kit includes the folding light tent. The entire kit is housed in a collapsible bag. When closed the bag has two straps to keep the flaps shut, three long pockets on the front, and a carrying handle. The left and right sides are permanently fixed to the bag. The top is fixed to the right side then connects to the left side with velcro. The kit comes with four different backdrops (black, white, red, and blue). The backdrops have a non-reflective surface to prevent light glare. The backdrops attach to the top rear of the light tent with a strip of velcro. The light box measures out at 24"x 24".

Double Head Light Collapsed
Light is supplied by two double head studio lights. The lights can swivel in any direction to provide direct, off-set, or indirect lighting. The lights can have a filter added to the front to change the light color, but the default is designed to offer even color temperature light. The upright of the light stand contains a collapsible tripod for better storage.

Double Head Light Standing
The camera stand is adjustable to every angle and can extend from 10.5" to 17". The stand has a wide base which provides a very stable platform. The top of the stand has a ball swivel for the camera mount which allows you to rotate the camera in every direction.

The kit contains a phone holder attachment which allows you to use an iPhone (3G, 4G, 4, 4S, or 5) or an iPad. I didn't attempt to use the phone holder.

Photo Comparison

I used my Wasteland Hulk figure as the studio model. This is a modified Reaper Bones clay golem miniature. The little dot on the white backdrop in the light tent in the first image on this post is the Wasteland Hulk.

Wasteland Hulk on Table
Immediately, you can see how poorly lit the model is when just on the table. This is mostly because the light is above the miniature and the amount of light prevents the flash from firing. Usually with my camera, I adjust for this by using the maximum zoom available to get the most light on the miniature.

Wasteland Hulk in Photo Box
The Hulk in the light tent has a much better lighting. You can still see the shadows, but most of the shadows are gone. I think some of this is because I don't know how to light the miniature appropriately to be rid of the shadows, but may also be because insufficient light above the miniature.

My Thoughts

I think this photo set-up provides a great starting place to get better lighted photos at a very good price. The lights provide a lot of coverage and allow for a wide variety of lighting styles and situations. Some folks have indicated that an additional top light is helpful to remove some of the remaining shadows, but I have to play around with the set-up or light angles can improve this.

The lights are not LED, which is unfortunate. While the lights do provide a good amount of light and provide a nice color to the figure, they heat up quickly. Be sure to let them cool completely before touching them to return to storage.

My only real complaint is with the claim that the bag is designed to carry everything in one location. The pockets on the front are not long enough to store the backdrops. If the pockets ran side to side instead of up and down, the backdrops would fit. The pockets also aren't quite big enough to easily hold the lights, though I don't think I would store them there if they did fit. The straps that are used to keep the tent closed though do allow you to put the backdrops under and hold securely enough.

Hopefully with some additional practice, I'll get the lighting down and steadily improve the photos on the blog.